A day for missed hat-tricks
The dream spoiled
Sreesanth, the Kerala home boy, seemed to have found his rhythm in exceptional fashion and was about to put the cherry on the top when he made a huge mistake. He bowled a peach of an inswinger, not as short as some of the others he had served up, that snuck through Kumar Sangakkara's drive, taking the inside edge onto the stumps. Just as Sreesanth was about to hit the roof in celebration, the umpires checked for the no-ball and he was found to be on the line. The free-hit rubbed salt in his wound and he responded with a waist high no-ball and later, a wide outside off.
The only six
Cameron White has been struggling for form and was in strife again today, as he kept mis-hitting and mis-timing his strokes. Out of the blue, he managed to get willow to leather in meaty fashion on one occasion. He picked one of Ravindra Jadeja's shorter balls and sent it sailing over square leg. It was a glorious, clean hit and offered a small glimpse into the form White once had. It was the only six in a game where bowlers had more say in the proceedings than usual.
The incomplete hat-tricks
Three bowlers were on a hat-trick today, and none of them managed the third wicket. Vinay Kumar took the wickets of Deccan's two top-scorers with successive deliveries. First, White swatted him straight to Daniel Christian at deep midwicket, and then Kumar Sangakkara edged one behind. Ishant Sharma then began his magic with the second ball of his spell, getting one to kick and swerve away from Parthiv Patel, who meekly nicked it. Raiphi Gomez came and went next ball, unable to stop a vicious inducker that clattered into the stumps. Dale Steyn ended the Kochi innings in similar fashion. He bowled Vinay with a with a full, straight ball that castled off stump and then dished up a yorker that RP Singh backed away to and sent onto his stumps. Neither Vinay nor Steyn got the chance to complete their hat-tricks. Ishant's hat-trick ball was safely negotiated by Brad Hodge, though he perished for a duck in the same over.
The Ishant Sharma special
The pitch was seamer-friendly but it seemed to be best friends with Sharma. In this first over, he dismissed Pathiv Patel with seam and bounce, Raiphi Gomez with one that kept a touch low, and Brad Hodge with a fuller ball. That made it three wickets in five balls, separated by a dot ball and a wide. He followed that up by removing Kedar Jadhav and Mahela Jayawardene in his next over. Sharma didn't bowl all four of his overs but the match may have been over sooner if he had. The lanky quick thanked Zaheer Khan for helping him work on his fitness and keeping him motivated.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent